Giving Project


2020 Giving Project

Pictured from left to right: (front) Barbara Resendiz, Ruth Maciulis, Caroline Wooten, Cherie Lockett, Erica Knox, Michael Aguhar (middle) Felicia Slaton-Young, LaTierra Piphus, Robin Semer, Jessie Robinson, Gaby Wagener-Sobrero, Wendy Weinstock Brown, Jessica Barrett, Anjali Misra, Tomás Uriostegui (back) Aisha Truss-Miller, Meredith Coulter, Lena Singer, Elli Krandel, Bill Lamme, Jake Wild Crea, Jonah Krischer, Gabriel Jones, Jazmin Garcia, Erica Lynette Edwards, Lizette Garza, Jane Kimondo

(not pictured: Jojo Galvan, Mike Strode)


Crossroads Fund is so excited to announce our 2020 Giving Project cohort - a multi-racial, cross-class, intersectional group of 26 people who have committed to fundraise $150,000 to fund movement work in Chicago. 

Over the course of six months, this group will have deep personal conversations on race and class, make a monetary donation that is significant to them, fundraise their network through a process of "donor organizing," and practice participatory grantmaking supporting strategic, necessary, and underfunded social justice organizing work around the city. Since 2014, Crossroads Fund's Giving Projects have raised more than $500,000 from over 1,000 donors.


Meet our 2020 Giving Project cohort below! And, if you want to learn more about the Giving Project (or are interested in participating in the future) read more here.


Giving Project Members

Aisha Ismail

Aisha's journey in advocacy and movement work began in 2012 as a volunteer health educator. Currently, she is the Development & Operations Manager at HEART and the co-founder of Venting & Vibing, a community space created for women of color to talk about their unique challenges in the workplace, share solutions, and heal. 

Reading, writing, creating, and dancing are just a few practices that feed her imagination and deepen her understanding of herself and the world. Aisha is excited to help resource organizing efforts across Chicago with 2021 Giving Project cohort and deepen her knowledge of the city’s organizing landscape.

Aliyah Jervier

With West Indian roots in a city as unique as Chicago, Aliyah (she/her) has experienced first-hand the beauty and struggle of diversity. She is passionate about health and wellness, education, and youth and women’s empowerment. Community engagement and service have influenced her desire to serve BIPOC both in the city and abroad with exceptional organizations, including Global United Diaspora, The Obama Foundation, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Aliyah is currently a Program Associate at Arabella Advisors and a holistic health coach. She is excited to engage with and learn from the 2021 Giving Project group – one love.

Bahati Aimee

Bahati is and has always been passionate about people, relationships, and learning. Most recently, she has worked as a grant writer supporting arts and culture work at a nonprofit. Currently, she is a graduate student at the University of Chicago, working and learning within the city's region food/urban farming sector. In her free time, she enjoys meditating, listening to music and stories, learning, outdoor activities, stretching, walks, and good company.

LaTierra Piphus is a Professional Womanist-Marxist, Community Educator and Cultural Producer using her talents and skills to create affinity and resistance spaces for Black Queer & Trans folks, Black Women/Womyn/Womxn & Femmes. A Midwest native, she graduated from the University of Wisconsin with her B.A. in Communication, minor in Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies & acquired certificates in Community Based-Learning and Media Literacy. She currently oversees her soul work projects full-time: The Womanist Working Collective, Reciprocity Time Bank, and Replenish Black Joy Healing Spaces. 

Gaby Wagener-Sobrero is an unapologetic systems change thinker whose work is rooted in advancing social equity by addressing upstream factors of oppression. She is a strong advocate for community-based participatory policymaking and is currently a Health Equity Fellow at Northwestern University. When not in meetings or in the office, Gaby enjoys long runs on the lakefront, thrifting for clothes and housewares, and reading books on social justice and public health issues with warm mug of coffee.

Erica Knox was born and raised on the Far North Side of Chicago, and after five intermittent years in California, has come back to Chicago for good. During the workday, Erica researches equitable community development and fair housing for the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights. Erica continues to grow skills in relational organizing, democratic assembly, collective mutual aid, and education for liberation.

Mike Strode is a writer, cyclist, IT consultant, and collaborative social economist residing in southeast Chicago. He is an independent researcher interrogating the intersection of timebanking, social economy, community resiliency and unpaid labor. His grounding philosophy is mycelium (mushroom roots), collaborative agility, empathic individualization, and all things human glue.

Felicia Slaton-Young is an investment professional with more than 25 years in the financial services industry. She has a strong passion for small business and a commitment to helping entrepreneurs and small business owners in economically suppressed communities, develop, grow and expand. She does not corner the market on great ideas, so sharing your ideas, experience and expertise is always welcomed and encouraged.

Elli Krandel is the Assistant Director of Development at Beber Camp: the same camp where she spent over ten years rock climbing, canoeing, and building a strong Jewish identity. After graduating from the University of Illinois with a degree in Economics, Elli joined the Avodah Jewish Service Corps. As an Avodahnik, Elli's passion for social justice grew as she lived simply in an intentional community and worked serving the Lincoln Park Community Shelter. In addition to sharing elaborate Shabbat meals with friends, Elli enjoys attending community forums in her ward, biking the Lakeshore Path, and engaging in mindful yoga practice.

Caroline Wooten grew up near Boston, and has called Chicago home since 2008. She first got involved in activism doing youth climate organizing in college. Currently she serves as the Organizing Director for the Illinois Sierra Club. When she's not working, she enjoys folk dancing, playing music, riding her bike around Chicago, setting her weekly line-up for her college fantasy gymnastics team, and hanging with friends.

Barbara Resendiz is a Technical Project Manager and certified Scrum Master within Logistics and Supply Chain industries. A long time Chicago resident currently living on the north side of Chicago, was born in Mexico City and is fluent in Spanish.

Jake Wild Crea enjoys meeting new people that help challenge his idea of the world. He works in the non profit world- with local and international experience. He gets life from people, ideas, family, and friends.

Tomás G. Uriostegui is looking forward to learning more about the organizations and supporting grassroots organizations throughout the Chicago-land area. He became critical about social justice when his older brother was incarcerated and later deported to Mexico. He is currently reading, "The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love" by bell hooks.

Gabriel Jones is a social sector convener and changemaker who leverages his networks and deep knowledge of environmental and climate justice issues to shift power and philanthropic resources to community-based organizations. He has worked on several national programs that support emerging leaders of color and conducted research for food systems studies. Gabriel is a Southern California native who enjoys spending time in nature, listening to stories about race and place, and connecting with people through food and dance.

Jonah Krischer is a journalist whose work focuses on exposing the inequalities in the criminal legal system and uplifting the stories of those who are most impacted by it. A Minnesota native, he studied journalism at Northwestern University and has been a proud Chicago resident for more than five years. He and his wife, Amy, live in Wicker Park with their dog, Charlie, who is named for the West Wing character.

Erica Lynette Edwards is a visionary and results-driven leader, captivating clients and audiences with authentic and innovative programming. She is highly skilled in initiating and delivering consistent success and effective change through her creative problem solving, public speaking, mentoring, creation and facilitation of workshops, and expertise in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Erica is known for her passion for the performing arts through her 15-year career as a ballerina and as an artistic and administrative senior leader in her role as Director of Community Engagement for a world-renowned company.

Aisha Truss-Miller is a Chicago native dedicated to the creation and sustainability of safe spaces for the leadership development, political education, healing, and social-emotional learning for Black people, Black youth, and folks of color. She currently works with Metropolitan Tenants Organization (MTO) as the Development Manager. Aisha is a loving mother, wife, volunteer, organizer, and storyteller dedicated to "changing systems designed to oppress my communities and profit from our plight and power". She accredits her growth and achievements to family, friends, mentors, "the block", and everyday people modeling positive leadership and whom provide her with insight, inspiration, debate, hope, support, accountability, laughs, and love.

Bill Lamme is a child of the Sixties and shaped by the moral challenge of the Civil Rights Movement, opposition to the draft and the Vietnam War, and by the militance of the Black Power movement. His life as an activist was influenced by the New Left Womens Liberation, support for autonomous worker organizations, and antimperialism informed by events in Chile. Later in life, he left industrial work in favor of teaching history in Chicago Public Schools, from which he retired in 2013. He is working with Crossroads Fund because they support deep grassroots organizations whose radicalism isn't cooled by having to appeal to liberal funding foundations like Bill Gates.

Cherie Lockett's involvement in social justice dates back to her preadolescent years picketing for Fair Housing. In High School producing and directing social justice themed slideshows for Civil Rights week, post college community organizing in Boston, Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal community building, Community organizer and Crossroad Fund Board member in Chicago. As a Healthcare professional she identified, promoted and help launch community wide healthcare initiatives – including tracking the AIDs virus across health departments nationwide, and programs targeted for the south and west sides of Chicago. Later-career, she has transitioned to group facilitation where she strives to help build community by helping them give voice to what they want.

Robin Semer dates her political consciousness and commitment to when Martin Luther King was assassinated. Since then she has participated in various movements: opposition to the Vietnam War, the United Farmworkers Union's boycott, the Chicago Religious Task Force on Central America's campaign of sanctuary for Salvadoran and Guatemalan refugees and The Pledge of Resistance. Most recently, she obtained a degree in Environmental Engineering and in addition to her engineering job, she volunteered on Engineers Without Borders sanitation and water projects in Mexico, Central America and Africa. Primary current issues are racial justice, immigration and climate change.

Jazmin Garcia is a queer first-generation proud Mexican-American woman. Her experience growing up across borders in San Diego, CA/Tijuana Baja CA inspired a curious leader and prompted her passion for public service and social impact. After four years in policy and programs in Washington D.C. she moved to Chicago to learn of equitable grant-making and philanthropy. When shes not working towards improving economic mobility for women and people of color she enjoys yoga, meditating and the beach!

Jessica Barrett has worked in the nonprofit realm in Chicago and is ready to see a change in the nonprofit industrial complex. She joined Crossroads to learn about and support anti-racist philanthropy and the amazing people and grassroots organizations making a true impact on the city. In her spare time, Jessica binge-watches her favorite tv shows, tends to her plants and her pets, tries to sustain greener habits, and reads books from the Chicago Public Library about social justice issues.

Meredith Coulter is a former grant writer turned technologist. She now works to get young Chicagoans excited about the STEM fields and helps advise grassroots organizations get the technical tools they need. In her spare time, you can find her pulling weeds at an urban farm.

Lena Singer is a magazine writer and editor turned advertising creative director. She’s a former staffer of Chicago magazine and of Rookie, an online magazine and book series made by teenagers, for teenagers. In 2018, she was the press lead for U.S. Representative Lauren Underwood’s primary campaign. She is a member of the board of directors for ACRE: Artists’ Cooperative Residency & Exhibitions in Pilsen.

Ruth Maciulis cherishes its working class and ethnically diverse make up. Born and raised in Chicago, her professional history varies from the service industry, as a caretaker for the elderly and community organizing. Most recently, she had the honor of serving as the Co-Director of Pilsen Alliance and is committed to continuing to serve the communities that made her the person she is today.

Jessie Robinson has felt a pull to help make the world a better place for a long time and she is thankful for the opportunity to live her truth. We are all built from the same DNA, with fears, hopes, desires, insecurities, passions and heartbreaks. She vows to be apart of the solutions and she vows to chose love and understanding over hate and separation.